Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2015 BMW i3 VS 2015 Toyota Prius Near Scottsdale, AZ

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2015 BMW i3

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2015 Toyota Prius

Safety Comparison

Both the i3 and the Prius Plug-In Hybrid have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control and electronic stability systems to prevent skidding.

Warranty Comparison

The i3 comes with a full 4 year/50,000 mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24 hour roadside assistance. The Prius Plug-In Hybrid’s 3 year/36,000 mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The i3’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the Prius Plug-In Hybrid’s (12 vs. 5 years).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the i3 for 2 years and 25000 miles longer than Toyota pays for maintenance for the Prius Plug-In Hybrid (4/50,000 vs. 2/25000).

Engine Comparison

The i3’s electric motor produces 36 more horsepower (170 vs. 134) and 31 lbs.-ft. more torque (184 vs. 153) than the Prius Plug-In Hybrid’s 1.8 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid.

As tested in Motor Trend the BMW i3 is faster than the Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid:


Prius Plug-In Hybrid

Zero to 60 MPH

6.4 sec

9.8 sec

Quarter Mile

15.3 sec

17.4 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

89 MPH

79.7 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the i3 with its optional range extender gets better fuel mileage running on electricity alone than the Prius Plug-In Hybrid with a full charge (117 vs. 95 Combined MPGe).

The i3’s maximum driving range is 81 miles (without optional range extender), over seven times as far as the Prius Plug-In Hybrid’s 11 mile electric-only range.

The i3’s maximum driving range (model with optional range extender) in pure electric mode is 72 miles, almost seven times as far as the Prius Plug-In Hybrid’s 11 mile electric-only range.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

For better stopping power the i3’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Prius Plug-In Hybrid:


Prius Plug-In Hybrid

Front Rotors

11 inches

10 inches

Rear Rotors

11 inches

10.2 inches

The i3’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Prius Plug-In Hybrid are solid, not vented.

The i3 stops much shorter than the Prius Plug-In Hybrid:


Prius Plug-In Hybrid

60 to 0 MPH

108 feet

130 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels Comparison

The i3’s optional 155/60R20 front and 175/55R20 rear tires provide better handling because they have a lower 60 series front and 55 series rear profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Prius Plug-In Hybrid’s 65 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the i3 has standard 19-inch wheels. Only 15-inch wheels are available on the Prius Plug-In Hybrid. The i3 offers optional 20-inch wheels.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

For superior ride and handling, the BMW i3 has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the i3 is 1.9 inches wider in the front and 2.2 inches wider in the rear than on the Prius Plug-In Hybrid.

The i3 handles at .80 G’s, while the Prius Plug-In Hybrid Standard pulls only .76 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the i3’s turning circle is 1.9 feet tighter than the Prius Plug-In Hybrid’s (32.3 feet vs. 34.2 feet).

Chassis Comparison

The BMW i3 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 300 to 550 pounds less than the Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid.

The i3 is 1 foot, 7 inches shorter than the Prius Plug-In Hybrid, making the i3 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Ergonomics Comparison

When different drivers share the i3, the memory system makes it convenient. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position, outside mirror angle, climate settings and radio stations. The Prius Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer a memory system.

The i3’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Prius Plug-In Hybrid’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

The i3 has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The Prius Plug-In Hybrid has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the Advanced.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the i3 has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Prius Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The i3’s power mirror controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The Prius Plug-In Hybrid’s power mirror controls are on the dash, hidden behind the steering wheel, where they are awkward to manipulate.

The i3 has standard automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Prius Plug-In Hybrid offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

The i3’s optional Parking Assistant can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Prius Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

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